In Separate Bedrooms(9)

By: Carole Mortimer

At least one of those four women had been in contact with him, after all!

Mattie was sure she must have a sick expression back on her face. If only—

‘I was actually going to contact you myself later today,’ Jack Beauchamp continued, no warmth in that chocolate-brown gaze now—in fact, his whole expression had suddenly become enigmatically unreadable.

‘I had a feeling you might,’ Mattie acknowledged quickly.

‘And you thought you would circumvent that visit by coming here to see me instead?’ he prompted in that silkily soft voice.

‘Yes,’ she confirmed abruptly. ‘You see, I—I was checking through some papers yesterday evening, and realized I had made a terrible mistake—’

‘Did you indeed …?’ he interjected, standing up to move around the desk with surprising speed for such a large man. ‘Exactly when yesterday did you say you had realized your error?’

Even wearing two-inch heels Mattie had to tilt her head back to look up into his face. Not that she was sure she wanted to! He was altogether too close, and she really had no idea what his mood was. Although she was sure it couldn’t be pleasant, not after the havoc she had probably wreaked in his personal life!

‘I told you, it was yesterday evening. I really am sorry—’

‘Mattie, interesting as this conversation undoubtedly is, could we possibly continue it over dinner this evening?’ he cut in after a brief glance at his wrist-watch. ‘You see, I have a luncheon appointment in two minutes, and—’

‘No, we could not continue this conversation—or indeed, anything!—over dinner!’ Mattie burst out disbelievingly. In fact, she couldn’t believe he had actually asked her that!

He raised dark brows. ‘No?’

‘No!’ she snapped incredulously.

‘Why not?’ he pressed.

Her eyes blazed deeply blue. ‘For one thing—you’re a married man!’ she reminded him forcefully. ‘For another—you already have at least four girlfriends that I know of!’

There, she had said it. So much for coming here and claiming the mix-up with the cards had been a simple mistake—which was the excuse she had come up with during her wakeful hours early this morning. But what else was she supposed to do when the man was now actually daring to try and add her to his list of women?

She glanced up at him, quickly looking away again as she realized he was standing much too close to her. With the desk behind her, and Jack Beauchamp standing in front of her, she had no means of escape if he should—

‘Jack …? Am I too early for our luncheon appointment?’

Mattie gave a nervous start at the sound of an intrusive female voice, at the same time acknowledging that she and Jack Beauchamp must have been so intent on each other that neither of them had heard the other woman open the door and enter the room.

Jack Beauchamp’s eyes narrowed on Mattie briefly before he stepped away from her, a smile curving his lips now as he turned to greet the other woman. ‘Not at all,’ he assured her smoothly. ‘Mattie and I were just finalizing our arrangements for this evening,’ he added with a pointed glare in Mattie’s direction.

A glare Mattie was totally immune to, her whole attention focused on the tall woman who had just entered the office.

She was beautiful, her luxuriously thick hair falling in ebony waves to just below her slender shoulders, blue eyes sparkling with health and vitality, make-up understated on the ravishing beauty of her face. The fitted blue dress she wore—expensive by its cut—was the exact same colour as her eyes, her legs looked long and silky, her feet small and delicate in strappy black sandals.

‘Mattie.’ Jack Beauchamp took a firm hold of her arm as he pulled her forward to stand at his side. ‘Let me introduce you to my sister, Alexandra.’

His sister? Did he really expect her to believe that?

The other woman gave a questioning look in Jack Beauchamp’s direction before turning to Mattie. ‘Lovely to meet you, Mattie.’ She smiled warmly, her voice huskily attractive. ‘I do apologize if I’m interrupting,’ she added. ‘Claire wasn’t in her office outside, so I let myself in.’

‘Not at all,’ Mattie assured her nervously, wishing Jack Beauchamp would let go of her arm. It wasn’t that he was particularly hurting her, she just wasn’t comfortable with the tingling sensation that was moving from her wrist to her shoulder! ‘I was just leaving, anyway,’ she excused, deliberately stepping away from Jack Beauchamp so that he had no choice but to release her arm.